As gas prices go up, consumers are looking for ways to stretch every dollar and gallon of fuel. Everyone from hybrid car owners like the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid, to larger trucks and SUVs, such as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford F-150 are very interested in low rolling resistance tires.
Last summer, Tire Rack tested three eco-focused tires that advertise better fuel economy and all-season capability: the Bridgestone Ecopia EP422, Continental ProContact with EcoPlus Technology, and Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max against a typical passenger car tire, the Yokohama AVID TRZ. Our testing program includes both dry and wet surface testing on our dedicated test track and a 6.6-mile loop of expressway, state highway and county roads that have a good mix of road conditions that include city and highway speeds, smooth and coarse concrete, as well as new and patched asphalt. Our newest addition to the testing program is an automotive computer tied into the vehicle's electronics that allow us to measure fuel consumption and true distance traveled.
During our Real World Road Ride test, the Continental and Bridgestone tires rated best for comfort and low road noise, while the Continental proved to be top-rated in handling, braking and cornering traction. Our computers added a new dimension to the testing by showing the Bridgestone (followed by the Goodyear) as having the best fuel efficiency.
At the end of the test, all four tires proved to be capable and quiet, with the Continental coming out on top by a slim margin over the Yokohama. As always, there are compromises for any model, so be sure to see if small gains in traction or comfort can be offset with improvements in fuel efficiency. For a full test report, review "Eco-Focused All-Season Tires: Do They Deliver on the Promise?"